As impressive as the performance by the Green Bay offensive line was, the Packers’ pass rush may have been even better.
The competition was not great, but seeing this rush go off in the manner they did was a sight to behold. It becomes even more stunning when you consider the massive problems being experienced in the secondary.
Without Sam Shields and Damarious Randall, the team had only an unappealing group consisting of Quinten Rollins, LaDarius Gunter, Micah Hyde, and Josh Hawkins to take snaps at cornerback; at safety they did get Morgan Burnett back from injury, but lost Chris Banjo midway through the contest.
Despite the myriad of problems back there — as well as the litany of first-rate receiving talents New York had to attack with — the Giants only picked up 199 yards through the air and a single (basically) garbage-time TD pass.
The added 5 QB hits as well (3 by Perry, 1 each by Fackrell and Matthews), and forced a fumble (recovered by the Packers; it turned a likely Giants score following a Rodgers INT into a field goal to put them up 17-6 at halftime).
The tackles for the Giants were especially brutal. Per PFF, LT Ereck Flowers allowed as many pressures on his own as the entire Packers offensive line did (7) in 11 less dropbacks. RT Bobby Hart wasn’t much better, allowing a sack, two QB hits, and four pressures.
This wasn’t only on those guys, however; on nearly half of the Giants’ dropbacks (17 of 39), Green Bay successfully applied pressure. Eli Manning completed just 6 of 14 passes in those situations, garnering only 63 yards.
He did get his TD pass on one (a pretty close call, with Odell Beckham Jr. making not only an incredible catch but managing to prevent his heel from touching him down out of bounds in the process), but he also experienced all three of his sacks across those plays.
The guys who stood out the most on the night for Green Bay were guys most wouldn’t have expected prior to this year but continue to prove doubters wrong in 2016.
Perry was a consummate bust in his first four years, rarely able to stay on the field, much less contribute; now, he is PFF’s #4 overall edge defender, sitting behind only Von Miller in terms of his pass rushing grade.
He was the second-highest graded defender for the Packers on Sunday (#1 is coming up), putting up six pressures (bringing his total to 22 on the year) to go with his sack and three QB hits.
The #1 graded defender was Fackrell.
In addition to his sack and forced fumble he also added a QB hit and a hurry, and he did all this in just 12 total pass rushing chances.
That is pure insanity.
With Perry, Matthews, and Julius Peppers all ahead of him it will be difficult to get him more snaps, but his production undeniably deserves a larger role going forward.
With their continued excellent play against the run (171 yards allowed on 86 carries through 4 games — a 2.0 yards per carry average — and the #2 Rush Defense DVOA per Football Outsiders), this deadly-effective pass rush makes this one of the best defenses the league has to offer even with a maligned secondary; if their young guys on the back end manage to find some semblance of their 2015 form, the league better watch out.